- The 2018 Best in KLAS health IT rankings revealed few surprises in the electronic health record categories as Epic Systems received its eighth consecutive crown for Overall Software Suite – but companies vying for additional titles in business intelligence, population health and big data analytics have plenty of their own achievements to celebrate.
As healthcare becomes more and more reliant on access to data-driven insights to cut costs and fuel quality improvement programs, the ability to establish smart partnerships with high-quality vendors could be the difference between success and failure in the value-based care environment.
The annual Best in KLAS report offers payers and providers some insights into which applications and services have been successful among their peers.
This year’s high achievers scored points with their users for quality customer service, innovative offerings, and support that goes far beyond basic troubleshooting during implementation.
The emphasis on relationship building and ongoing training resources indicates that many healthcare providers are looking for much more than just a technology package: they recognize that true organizational transformation is a long-term commitment that requires close collaboration between their data and their doers.
Here are some of the notable achievements among the industry’s health IT vendors, consultants, and developers this year.
Epic Systems collects laurels across multiple categories
Epic is used to being at (or near) the top of the list when it comes to its suite of health IT products, and this year is no exception. Securing the overall title required the Verona, Wisconsin company to place first in a number of categories, which it did easily in many cases.
Epic beat out its nearest competitor, MEDITECH, by more than ten points for the overall title. Cerner Corporation came in a close third, while Allscripts, CPSI Healthland, and MEDHOST trailed somewhat.
In addition to being named best acute care EMR for large hospitals or IDNs and best ambulatory solution for groups of more than 75 physicians, Epic’s Care Everywhere health information exchange solution accrued more than 90 points on the user ranking scale.
Additional offerings, such as the Epic MyChart patient portal, Epic Beaker for large hospital laboratories, its practice management solutions for large physician groups, and billing software, also beat out the competition.
While a separate KLAS report from earlier in January painted a somewhat less rosy portrait of Epic’s achievements in the population health management space, the company’s ongoing efforts to develop a seamless, intuitive, and user-friendly platform appear to be producing positive results.
Consulting companies produce high customer satisfaction for complex tasks
Healthcare organizations undertaking complicated implementations or significant transformation projects are seeing success with consulting firms that provide targeted expertise. These firms provide go-live support, health IT implementation management, support, and staffing, as well as strategy and IT advisory services that can supplement an organization’s internal resources.
For the second year, Optimum Healthcare IT was named the best overall IT services firm due to its strong ratings for innovation, sales and service, and strategic expertise.
“We view our client relationships as partnerships and are humbled that our clients have selected us as Best in KLAS for the second consecutive year,” said Jason Mabry, CEO of Optimum Healthcare IT. “Our continued focus is working hard for our clients by enhancing our service lines and providing the highest levels of service possible.”
Impact Advisors ranked second, with a two-point gap, followed by The HCI Group, Navin, Haffty & Associates, and Encore to round out the top five.
On the healthcare management consulting side, ECG Management Consultants topped Premier, Chartis Group, Deloitte Consulting, and PwC for the overall title. ECG produced particularly high satisfaction scores for its service and support.
Elsevier, EBSCO Health, VigiLanz top the clinical decision support categories
Three vendors led the way for inpatient clinical decision support tools: Elsevier won for care planning and order sets, VigiLanz took first place for surveillance, and EBSCO Health snagged the two top rankings for point of care clinical reference tools – one for its nursing reference offering and one for disease reference.
VigiLanz also ranked first for its infection control product, beating out Epic by just over one point on the satisfaction scale.
Health Catalyst ranks highest for healthcare business intelligence
Plenty of big names led the business intelligence and analytics category, perhaps indicating that healthcare organizations are none too willing to trust their critical financial and operational decision-making to newcomers without solid reputations behind them.
Health Catalyst squeaked by Dimensional Insight with a tenth of a point to take the Best in KLAS title for 2018 – a distinction that may be statistically insignificant due to the fact that the winner actually decreased in satisfaction by one percent more than Dimensional Insight since 2017.
"We are honored that KLAS has recognized us again this year as No. 1 in healthcare business intelligence and analytics, and especially to be recognized by our clients for our ability to help them transform their data into meaningful outcomes," said Dan Burton, CEO of Health Catalyst.
Tableau took the bronze medal, followed by Change Healthcare, Qlik, Microsoft, SAP, and IBM.
In the “other business decision support solutions” category, Strata Decision Technology topped EPSi, Vizient, and Change Healthcare. Nuance reigns supreme for quality management solutions, followed by Medisolv and Verge Health.
Enli is tops for population health management
Enli Health Intelligence outperformed Epic Healthy Planet to gain the top spot for population health management solutions. A frequent visitor to the higher end of the KLAS spectrum for population health, Enli has won this title for the second consecutive year.
“The Enli Care Plan focuses the entire care team, including the patient, on the same goal: improving that individual’s health and well-being,” said Dr. Joseph Siemienczuk, Enli Chief Medical Officer. “Whether you are closing care gaps under fee-for-service or value-based care models, the result is the same. The enterprise is rewarded financially when population health improves.”
Enli and Epic were followed by i2i Population Health, Phytel, and athenahealth. Cerner found itself in an unaccustomed ninth place finish, followed by eClinicalWorks.
Caveats and conclusions
The differences between the top vendors in many of these categories is slight, no more than a couple of points across multiple criteria. Very few entrants dipped below 60 points on a 100 point scale, which shows that users are generally pleased with their purchases overall.
Additionally, satisfaction some of these categories is trending downward, so the leaders appear to be the best among drooping confidence across an entire field of vendors.
KLAS only collected limited data for some well-known and popular vendors, leaving them out of the main rankings list, which may also slightly skew the results.
And as with any ranking incorporating public opinion, the report is subjective. While KLAS makes an effort to screen responses for obvious bias, vendors will no doubt argue that satisfaction with a particular tool depends just as much on how the individual organization deploys a solution as the qualities of the solution itself.
Poor implementation processes, insufficient optimization, or inadequate training can make satisfaction scores plummet, even if the provider organization itself is the one who make mistakes during go-live.
Nevertheless, the report provides interesting insights into how the market is trending and which solutions might be worth exploring as organizations gather the analytics, business intelligence, and other health IT tools they need to succeed with value-based care.